Chapter 25 of Recovery Nation starts to sound relevant again. “Because when all is said and done, there is no such thing as compulsive behavior. At least, compulsive to the point where you have no control over your actions. As you will learn, all behavior has the potential to be broken down at the time it is experienced. All “compulsive behavior” can be stopped. All can be turned into rational, values-based decisions…rather than perpetuated as an emotional response. Any person who acts ‘compulsively’ is in truth, acting through emotional immaturity.”
I was also struck by this passage, which addresses the observer’s incredulity that I did so many things that were not only selfish, but also irrational, illogical, and self-defeating. “Because you are relying solely on your emotions to guide you, you are unable to engage in a rational decision-making process — something that is key to a long-term, healthy, fulfilling life. When basing your decisions on emotions, you are unable to consider the long term consequences of your actions in your decision-making process. You are unable to see the reality of the situation that you are facing. Intellectually, you may very well understand the consequences of your actions, but emotionally…they don’t register. And they won’t until those consequences are put into play — which by that time, is almost always too late to be useful.”
The homework, if I understand it, is to list the elements of one of my own compulsive rituals, perhaps with notes about the beginning, point of no return, and end of the ritual. Let me try one.
Compulsive ritual: tidying or “to-do listing”
I see something untidy or think about the several things I want to or have to do. (Beginning)
I feel overwhelmed and anxious.
I tell myself it won’t take long to tidy a certain area or to complete a certain task.
I begin the task. (Point of no return)
I run low on time for higher priority tasks, rest, or investment in relationships.
I feel overwhelmed and anxious. (End)